NHS Highland has formally endorsed plans to develop a community hospital and resource centre in Broadford and a ‘spoke’ facility in Portree.
Meeting in Inverness today (Tuesday) the board backed a proposal tabled by Gill McVicar, director of operations for NHS Highland’s north and west operational unit, and Maimie Thompson, head of public relations and engagement, for the redesign of services in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross.
The paper included a detailed report on the three-month public consultation on the redesign proposals which showed that 2,273 people completed a survey as part of the consultation, with two-to-one in favour of Broadford as the location for a new ‘hub’ facility. Fifty-seven per cent were in favour of the hub being in Broadford (current hospital pictured) and the spoke in Portree, whereas 29 per cent supported Portree as the location for the hub.
The cabinet secretary for health and well-being, Alex Neil, will now be asked to make a final decision. A ‘business case’ process would then have to be followed, and an ‘initial document’ would need to be prepared and submitted to the Scottish Government’s Capital Investment Group.
Garry Coutts, chair of NHS Highland, described today’s decision as “historic” and said detailed planning for the new facilities would now get under way.
He said: “We have reached a crucial stage in the redesign of services in the area. Our public engagement and consultation has been both lengthy and thorough, and we are satisfied that we have reached a decision that best reflects the needs and aspirations of the entire community. I am delighted to recommend it to the cabinet secretary.
“Understandably, there has been some controversy around this issue. People have approached it from various perspectives, and our job has been to try to arrive at a consensus view on how best to reshape our services.
“We have done so with the interests of the entire community at heart and would ask everyone in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross to pull together behind this decision. With their continuing help, I am confident that we will provide first-class healthcare and social care facilities and services that are fit for the 21st century.”
Mr Coutts expressed his gratitude to everyone who had taken part in the consultation process.